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15 Second Hand BookShops in London you Need to Visit
London is a haven of beautiful second-hand books shops that stock rare and collectable items. You can find your favourite titles, get lost through the stacks or hunt for bargains. Here are the top second-hand bookshops in London.
1. Skoob Books
Location: 66 The Brunswick off, Marchmont St, London WC1N 1AE
Opening Hours: Mon-Sat 10:30am – 8pm, Sun 10:30am – 6pm
Situated underneath the Brunswick Centre close to the Russell Square Station, Skoob Books has a rich selection of titles. The books are usually grouped in key sections throughout the underground shop. The titles are in alphabetical order on the shelves while some are on the floor. On Saturdays, Skoob Books has a stand within the Brunswick Centre.
Being close to many universities, Skoob Books has the broadest selection of second-hand academic books. You can find collections of:
- Modern Literature
- Science and Technology
There are over 70,000 titles in stock and a further 65,000 from their online catalogue. Besides academic titles, you can find a selection of good novels.
Since the store is underground, the lack of natural light and windows might be a turn off for some people. But for others, it’s an adventure. It’s like searching for treasure in a cave. If you’re a collector, expand your collection with Oxford Classics, and the iconic Penguin editions from Skoob Books.
2. Henry Pordes Books
Location: 72 Charing Cross Rd, London WC2H 0BB
Opening Hours: 10:30am – 7:30pm, Monday to Saturday
For over 50 years, the Henry Pordes Books has been a famous name in the book trade. The shop sells antiquarian and second-hand books. A favourite among Londoners and visitors to London, it’s run by Rita Servidio and Francesco Ponti.
The store has different rooms which house different genres of books. At the doorway, you’ll find a small shelf dedicated to Agatha Christie’s collection. There are also some lovely Penguin classic editions plus paperbacks and hardbacks from Donna Tartt and more.
You can find beautiful vintage collectable editions of Jane Austen to Alice in Wonderland in one room. In another room, visitors can find copies of Lord of the Ring and Harry Potter box sets plus modern classics.
Other rooms house a large selection of art books and titles on films dating several decades back. If you’re shopping for vintage books, this is a great place. You can buy a unique gift for family and friends or treat yourself. Henry Pordes Books is a member of PBFA.
3. Hurlingham Books
Location: Ranelagh Gardens, 91 Fulham High St, London SW6 3JS
Opening Hours: 9am – 6pm
Hurlingham Books is one of the oldest bookshops in South West London. Ray Cole, the owner, opened the shop in 1968. Thanks to his love for books, the Hurlingham Books still opens its doors to Londoners and visitors to London alike.
As a favourite bookshop for book lovers, Hurlingham Books has rows and rows of books lining its windowsills and shelves. They also have a large glass front, full of books. The bookshop is full to the brim with books, from classics to modern collections. You can find different genres – fiction to nonfiction published decades ago and recent releases.
Ten minutes away from the store, Hurlingham Books has a huge warehouse. Situated in Fulham, the warehouse has over a million books. Whatever your interest is, you’re bound to find it at Hurlingham Books or its warehouse.
4. Halcyon Books
Location: 266 Lee High Rd, London SE13 5PL
Opening Hours: 9am – 6pm, Monday to Saturday
Halcyon Books is bookworm heaven. The family-run bookshop has over 40,000 secondhand books available in-store and online. They have books that suit all tastes and budgets. Situated on Lee High Road, Halcyon Books has books on all subjects ranging from travel to religion and history.
Besides second-hand books, they also have rare books, antiquarian books, first edition books and more. At the shop, you can find records, sheet music CDs, vintage magazines, maps, photographs and postcards on sale.
Halcyon Books has a friendly and welcoming atmosphere. They also offer coffee, a selection of speciality teas and free WiFi. A perfectly brewed coffee or tea goes well with books. Shoppers have a selection of the following beverages:
- Flat white
- Double Espresso
Besides selling books, they also buy second-hand books, maps, old comics, postcards, records and more.
5. Black Gull Books
Location: 121 High Road. East Finchley. London. N2 8AG
Opening Hours: 10am – 6pm, daily
Black Gull Books is an independent bookshop. As a hidden gem, they specialise in 19th and 20th-century classic literature. Situated in Camden Market, you can find more genres such as fiction, non-fiction and others. The bookshop also has a selection of crime books and travel guides. These are usually shelved outside the store.
Since they specialise in 19th and 20th-century collections, you can find the oddest trinkets tucked away in shelves. On one wall of the shop, you’ll find strange masks while a large railway clock hangs from the ceiling.
Black Gull Books has a sister shop in East Finchley. They also stock rare and collectable titles. Plus, if you need a book spine refresh, the staff will sort you out. Looking for rare and vintage titles? Check out the Black Gull Books and its sister store in East Finchley.
6. Quinto Bookshop
Location: 72 Charing Cross Rd, London WC2H 0BB
Opening Hours: 9am – 9pm
At the heart of the London book trade is Quinto Bookshop. Opened in 1983, the second-hand bookshop was one of the first booksellers along the world-famous Charing Cross Road. E. Joseph was the first owner of Quinto Bookshop before ownership changed to Hay Cinema Bookshop.
The bookshop became famous for the long queues when it had the monthly changeover. Over the years, Quinto Bookshop has built a loyal customer base. In 2010, Quinto Bookshop and Francis Edwards, moved to their joint premises at 72 Charing Cross Road.
After their joint partnership, Quinto Bookshop moved online where they exhibit antiquarian books. Quinto Bookshop continues its long tradition of selling quality second-hand books. Francis Edwards still trades at Hay Cinema Bookshop in Hay-on-Wye. They continue to specialize in rare books and also exhibit at book fairs. If you’re looking for rare titles and hidden gems at knock off prices, head to Quinto Bookshop.
7. Southbank Centre Book Market
Location: Waterloo Bridge, 337-338 Belvedere Rd, London
Opening Hours: 10am – 7pm
Find a wide selection of hardcover and paperback titles at Southbank Centre Book Market. Tucked under the Waterloo Bridge on Queen’s Walk, Southbank Centre is one of London’s outdoor second-hand book markets. At the market, find hundreds of comics, contemporary titles, prints, maps and classics.
Open daily, come rain or shine, they also sell film posters and other souvenir things to visitors strolling down Queen’s Walk. Southbank Centre Book Market has a fascinating history. Back in the 1980s, people knew South Bank as Cardboard City. It was not an exciting spot in the capital. But it spurred the set up of a book market.
There wasn’t much trade. With time, the market soon filled with several sellers, but business was slow. This led to the market getting the nickname “the graveyard.” The slow trade did not deter booksellers. Things changed in the 1990s after the construction of the riverside walkway. More visitors started visiting the market.
Thanks to the picturesque scenery of the Sunset and the River Thames, Southbank Centre Book Market is now popular. Lots of people visit the market not only to take photos of the book market. But to browse and buy one of the thousands of books on sale. Visitors can grab a cup of coffee and a book and read it on a bench. The good thing about Southbank Centre Book Market is that you can see the book’s condition before buying.
8. Walden Books
Location: Walden Books, 38 Harmood St, London NW1 8DP
Opening Hours: 10.30am – 6.30pm, Thursdays to Sundays
Situated just off Chalk Farm Road, Walden Books has over 10,000 titles in stock. Known for its fair prices, the collection includes novels, poetry, literary criticism and plays. You’ll also find visual arts such as photography, architecture, history of art, sculpture, painting and more.
Established in 1979 by David Tobin, the shop has always been part of Camden’s independent retail scene. Located in a Victorian terrace, the shop’s front is typically graced by a magnificent Wisteria Vine. This is a reminder of Thoreau and Walden’s life in the woods.
Walden Books consists of two rooms. Books are always shelved by category. The shop also has bargain bins filled with cheerful and cheap paperbacks. The majority of customers include students, writers, artists, academics, bookworms and collectors. Passers-by do get in the store and browse the available collection.
Besides visiting the shop, you can browse Walden Books online catalogue. The shop also buys books. They buy books written in English and range in subjects from literature to visual arts. If selling, make sure the books are in good condition with no torn out pages, staining or underlining. Hardback and paperbacks are always accepted.
9. Word On The Water
Location: Regent’s Canal Towpath, London N1C 4LW
Opening Hours: Noon to 7 PM daily
As London’s only floating bookstore, Word On The Water houses an assortment of fiction and nonfiction books. The 1920s Dutch barge has a large array of children’s books too. Items fill the space inside and outside the barge. This allows those a bit wary of stepping off the ground to browse the collection.
Word On The Water is the brainchild of Stephane Chaudat, Jonathan Privett and Paddy Screech. It’s been open for more than a decade. Due to canal regulations, the barge had to change locations every couple of weeks. As such, Word On The Water popped up anywhere the owners could find a spot. Later, the canal trust gave the bookstore boat a permanent berth. This is after a public outcry and successful campaign led by the store owners and supporters.
Today, you can find Word On The Water in its spot along Regents Canal. In summer, the barge hosts various performances from jazz bands to poetry slams and folk groups on its rooftop garden.
Nearby, you can find Coal Drops Yard and Canopy Market. This allows you to pair your browsing of the collection and shops with a bite to eat.
10. Jarndyce Booksellers
Location: 46 Great Russell St, London WC1B 3PA
Opening Hours: 11am – 5:30pm (weekdays only)
Established in 1969, Jarndyce Booksellers are the leading specialists in English Literature and History from the 18th and 19th centuries. Situated opposite the British Museum, it’s the perfect place to browse rare and collectable titles.
The shop publishes over 200 catalogues. Every year, they publish up to eight catalogues covering various subjects. Recent catalogues include Yellowback novels, Dickens, Women Writers, Books in Translation, and newspapers.
Jarndyce Booksellers has over 40 years of creating and building collections. If you need help to start a collection or expand an existing one, Jarndyce Booksellers is ready to help. They also act as agents if searching for a particular book. Thanks to their knowledge of the world’s auction houses, they can help you build and complete your collection.
Jarndyce Booksellers is always looking to buy books. They buy Dickens first and early editions, manuscripts, pamphlets (1700 to 1900), newspapers (the 1640s to 1940s), novels (1700 to 1920) and more.
11. Foster Books
Location: 183 Chiswick High Rd, Chiswick, London W4 2DR
Opening Hours: 10.30pm to 17.30pm Monday to Saturday
Search and browse for used and rare books at Foster Books. Housed in an 18th-century bow windowed building, Foster Books has been trading books for more than 50 years. The bookshop is 5 minutes from Turnham Green Tube Station on the busy Chiswick High road.
On summer days, Foster Books brings its wares out on the street. They lay out several collections on tables allowing passers-by to browse. You can find fiction and non-fiction titles. The shop also has children’s books. So, if you’re looking for old editions to add to your collection, check out Foster Books.
Besides books, you can find old photos, vintage magazines, and maps available for purchase. Foster Books has an online store where you can search for hard to find, out of print and rare books. Use the search form, and the shop will check its uncatalogued stock for you. They offer free UK shipping on all orders. The shop also delivers locally where feasible. But if you’re in the area, it’s worth visiting Foster Books.
Location: 439 Coldharbour Ln, London SW9 8LN
Opening Hours: 10:30am – 6:30pm
Another hidden gem in London is Bookmongers. Since 1992, Bookmongers has been serving the people of Brixton and South London. Widely known for its independent spirit and atmosphere, the shop has a selection of second-hand books in stock. Whether it’s an old classic or a rare book, you can find it in-store.
For example, you can find The Snowman First Edition hardback, David Copperfield by Charles Dickens and more. Visitors can also find fiction and non-fiction titles ranging from children books to poetry and plays. They also stock classic literature, short stories, crime and thrillers, sci-fi and fantasy.
Besides the books and unique atmosphere, Bookmongers is popular for its dearly departed dogs, Rosa and Leo. In fact, they have artwork inside and outside the shop commemorating the animals. Currently, Popeye the stray cat and a veteran of Brixton market is very much in residence.
Since Bookmongers aims to provide a welcoming environment, they reopened after lockdown. To be in the know about the latest rare and downright secondhand gems they find, follow their Instagram page.
13. Judd Books
Location: 82 Marchmont St, London WC1N 1AG
Opening Hours: 11am to 7pm, Monday – Saturday
For over 25 years, Judd Books has been trading new and used books. They have a collection of over 50,000 books in arts and social sciences. There are two floors stocked with a large range of books. The ground floor has:
- Theatre studies
Downstairs, Judd Books has a collection of History titles organized by country. You will also find Psychology, and Classical Studies downstairs, Politics and more in the back room.
They also specialize in academic books from American presses. Students with a valid ID get a 10% discount. For the casual reader, there is something for you other than academic titles. As such, you will find something that fits your interest.
Parking is available on the street from 1.30 PM on Saturdays and all day Sunday. If you drive within the Congestion Charge, there is a daily charge of £15 every day except Christmas Day.
14. Any Amount of Books
Location: 56 Charing Cross Rd, London WC2H 0QA
Opening Hours: 11.30am to 7.30pm, Monday to Saturday
Since the 1920s, there has been a bookshop at 56 Charing Cross. Any Amount of Books has been keeping this tradition of selling second-hand books since when A. H. Mayhew owned the shop. As the perfect place to browse rare titles, you can find a unique gift for yourself, a family member or a friend. The shop has first editions, modern literature, academic, and antiquarian leather-bound sets.
Any Amount of Books is a minute away from Leicester Square underground station on Charing Cross Road. You can also have a look at their online stock of more than 18,000 books on Biblio.com. They ship to most places globally and use signed or tracked services for books over £30 in value.
15. The Bookshop on the Heath
Location: 74 Tranquil Vale, Blackheath, London SE3 0BW
Opening Hours: 11am to 5.30pm, Monday to Friday
The Bookshop on the Heath sells collectable items, second-hand books, maps, posters and other items. Located in the lovely village of Blackheath in South East London, the shop also stocks antiquarian books and first editions. You can also find high-quality reproduction maps and prints.
There are five rooms and two corridor areas in the shop. Inside, find a selection of original film posters, greetings cards showing scenes of Greenwich. Some also show scenes painted by Tony Lord. If you’re in search of something specific, do not hesitate to ask the staff.